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Time for Me: Daily Practice for a Joyful, Peaceful, Purposeful Life

Time for Me: Daily Practice for a Joyful, Peaceful, Purposeful Life

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Time for Me: Daily Practice for a Joyful, Peaceful, Purposeful Life

210 pages
2 hours
Jan 5, 2016


How often have you read a book that was life changing? You know that if you practice what it suggests your life will be better, yet somehow you forget. You forget to meditate in the morning. You forget that three breaths calm you down. You forget all the lessons you learned.

Time for Me is different because it contains wisdom that really works. We have the ability to rewire and create new neural circuits in our brains, and the more we practice something new, the more we can form new neural pathways with each repetition. In time, these new pathways become deeper than the ones made by our old habits and they become automatic. That means, if we were to practice all this week thoughts such as 'I am happy' or 'I am calm', we would be more apt to return to them when we feel otherwise.

The seeds of all human characteristics are within us—good and bad—the ones that grow are the ones we nurture, and that is why the wisdom in Time for Me is designed to be practiced every day.
Jan 5, 2016

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Time for Me - Ruth Fishel



How many times have you read a book and as you are reading it, know that it is life-changing? Sometimes you find new information, or a repeat of something you have already read, but you know this time, if you just practice what it suggests, your life will be better. You are so excited you tell friends to be sure to read this book! Soon, although you are well meaning, you forget. You forget to meditate in the morning. You forget that three breaths can calm you down. You forget to exercise. You forget you are powerless over many things. You forget to slow down to take time in nature. You forget the many lessons you learned in the book. And you go on to read another book. Now you say, This is it! I can really be happy now!

Time for Me contains wisdom proven to be true, wisdom that works if you work it, wisdom that has been true over many thousands of years. It is said that there is nothing new under the sun.This really isn’t true. Science is discovering new truths all the time. One of these discoveries just happened within the past forty or fifty years. It is the field of neuroplasticity or brain plasticity. It found that our brains are not hardwired, as it has been thought until very recently. Scientists have now proven that we have the ability to rewire and create new neural circuits at any age! The other part of this exciting news is that our thoughts can rewire our brain. While it was concluded that our brains couldn’t change after we were in our thirties, we now know that our brains are like plastic and can continue to change over our lifetime. For example, the more we practice something new, new neurons fire together forming new neural pathways in our brains, deepening with each repetition. So if we were to practice all this week, saying to ourself I am happy, or This is a happy moment, or This is a peaceful moment, or This is a calm moment, etc., we would be more apt to return to this thought during moments when we are feeling otherwise. In time, these pathways become deeper than the pathways made by the old habits that we are no longer practicing, therefore becoming more automatic.

Actually, the Buddha knew this 2,600 years ago. He simply didn’t have the scientific proof. He discovered that our thoughts create our feelings. And he taught that if we change our thoughts we change how we feel. He didn’t have scans and other modern equipment that could examine our brains to prove it. But he lived this truth and taught it and those who listened and practiced it displayed additional proof that this was true.

This is why Time for Me is set up for us to practice every day, one subject, one week at a time. We practice each week to create new habits that will last us a lifetime! Buddhist monk, worldwide meditation teacher and author of more than fifty books Thich Nhat Hanh teaches about changing our habits in a very easy to understand way. He explains that within us are all the seeds of all the characteristics that people have. He suggests we imagine that they are all stored in our basement. He calls the seeds that cause our suffering, such as anger, jealousy, and fear, the weeds, while the characteristics that create joy in our lives such as compassion, generosity, and love, are the flowers. The ones that grow are the ones that we water and they come up into our living room. It’s up to us which ones grow.

Time for Me is a personal practice book. It is not a workbook. It is laid out in a weekly form to be practiced daily. It is personal because if you accomplish the simple truths found in each section in less than a week, then you simply move on. If it takes you longer, you simply practice that particular lesson for as long as it takes.

There is no right or wrong, good or bad. It just is. And as a twelve-step recovery slogan says: It works if you work it. So work it ’cause you’re worth it!

A Very Simple Three-Step Method

1. We Practice Mindfulness

Only by being aware of our thoughts can we change them.

2. We Connect with Universal Energy

You can call this God, spiritual energy, Higher Power, Buddha energy, Allah, whatever you choose to call a power greater than yourself to which you feel connected.

3. We Use the Power of Our Thoughts

Based on our new scientific understanding of neuroplasticity, we have the power to change our thoughts.


Time for Beginning

There is excitement in new beginnings. We think everything will be different . . . fast! We have hope. We are inspired. What we often fail to understand or accept is that change usually takes time. It happens one step at a time. You might remember the old expression, Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Yard by yard, it’s hard. It’s true!

How often have you tried something, found it difficult or that the change didn’t happen as quickly as you thought it would and you just gave up? Please don’t let this happen! That is why this book is based on practice . . . one week or longer at a time. Time for Me is designed for you to go at your own pace.

So let’s make this first week one for getting ready for change. It will help you develop patience. It will help you get to know yourself better. It will help you be happier and more peaceful.

I congratulate you on your willingness!

This Week’s Practice

I suggest you get a notebook and keep it exclusively for this entire year and this special life-changing project. You can use it to take notes, to journal, to save quotations or anything else you want to remember.

During this week be thoughtful of the changes you would like to make.

Make a list of these changes. Also make a list of the things you like and don’t like about yourself. Add to these lists as you discover more things about yourself throughout the upcoming weeks.

There are two very important rules I hope you keep in mind as you go about your weeks:

1. Please accept everything you discover, and . . .

2. Do not judge anything.

If you notice yourself judging yourself, others or situations, and you probably will, practice letting go of all judgments. Begin to accept what is. Accept what you see about yourself, others, and your situations. Be sure not to judge even if and when you find yourself judging! In other words, don’t judge your judging! This is a good rule to practice this week, this year and for the rest of your life. And finally, lighten up! Allow this practice to fill you with joy.

It feels so good to be taking time for me, to learn about me, to discover and let go of where I am stuck, and to move in a spiritual direction of joy, peace, and purpose.

Time for Me

Time is a holy gift. Love yourself enough to give yourself more of it.

—Janet Conner

Some of us, especially women, have been brought up to think that it is selfish to do things for ourselves. We have been taught we must think of others first. If we are married with children we must always put the kids and our spouse first. If we are in a relationship we put our partners before ourselves. If we ever do take time for ourselves we feel guilty.

And yet, how can we be complete if we don’t take time for ourselves? How can we rest and renew and re-energize? How can we enjoy some of the things that are best done alone? How can we pray and meditate? How can we connect with God? How can we look deeply, get to know our true selves? Over the years I have had people tell me they didn’t have time to meditate. The kids were too small. They had to let the dog out or the dog would bother them. They had company. They were needed!

Put your oxygen mask on before you help someone else, the flight attendant announces before the plane takes off.

But even more important, it is perfectly okay to do something fun just for you. It’s okay to take time to be alone, to take an hour or even a day or more here or there to fill your own needs, to go on a weekend retreat, to find joy in solitude.

This Week’s Practice

Take some time this week to pause and consider this simple truth: taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. What will you lose if you and your needs are always put last?

Take some time this week to make a list of things that make you happy, things that you enjoy doing just for you. Then make sure you do at least one thing on that list each day, whether it’s a bubble bath, reading a book, taking a walk, or sitting by the water. As the Nike slogan says, Just do it! Notice how you feel. If it is difficult to get away, can you perhaps ask someone to watch the kids for a short period of time? Is it hard to tell your partner you are taking time for you? Do you feel as if you have to ask for permission to do this?

Simply be aware of how you feel, without any judgment. If you feel guilty, do it anyway! This is a practice that is important to make a part of your life every week!

Take time each week to do the practice pages in this book. You’ll find joy, peace, and purpose in your life!

I deserve to take time for me. Or, I have all the time I need today to take time for me.

Select one of these and write it ten times a day for twenty-one days. Feel it as you are writing it. Let these words fill you with power.

Time for Meditation

Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there—buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.

—Deepak Chopra

Meditation is a good way to begin our first weeks. Meditation teaches us how to live in the present moment, how to bring peace into our lives; it eases tension and stress, and helps us to get to know ourselves better. Many people think meditation connects us spiritually with what we believe in, whether it be the God of our understanding, universal energy, Allah, the Buddha within, or any power greater than ourselves. Peace Pilgrim wrote, We spend a great deal of time telling God what we think should be done, and not enough time waiting in the stillness for God to tell us what to do. Even if you are an atheist or an agnostic, meditation can connect you with your inner spirit, your true self.

Meditation is a wonderful way to see how our minds work and how our minds are constantly busy with thoughts. We learn to notice our thoughts, and discover which thoughts create our suffering. We learn how to let go of our thoughts and thus begin to let go of our unhappiness and suffering.

There are hundreds of ways to meditate. For our practice this year I suggest you practice mindfulness meditation. Believe me, it’s simple and you can’t do it wrong! There are two parts to mindfulness and they are equally important.

The first is a daily sitting practice. Here is a very short and simple lesson in mindfulness, a way in which we can bring peace to ourselves in any moment. I suggest practicing meditation for a minimum of twenty minutes each day, preferably in the morning. It will change your life. If this feels like too much, begin with ten minutes and extend it as soon as you can to fifteen minutes, and then twenty. You can sit longer when you feel ready.

Find a comfortable place, either in a chair, or on a cushion, a meditation bench, or, as I practice it, sitting up in bed with three pillows behind me. Simply bring your awareness to the present moment.

I learned this practice more than thirty-six years ago. Larry Rosenberg, my teacher at that time, suggested that I sit for twenty minutes—whether I wanted to or not. I found the teachings so profound and life-changing that I chose to follow his advice and, as of this writing, I have not missed a day since then. I know myself well enough to know that if I miss one day, I will miss two and then three, and I might have a hard time getting back to it.

By practicing this twenty minutes in the morning, every

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